Star Papers; Or, Experiences of Art and Nature

By Henry Ward Beecher | Go to book overview

XXIII. DREAM-CULTURE.

LENOX, August, 10, 1854.

THERE is something in the owning of a piece of ground, which affects me as did the old ruins of England. I am free to confess that the value of a farm is not chiefly in its crops of cereal grain, its orchards of fruit, and in its herds; but in those larger and more easily reapt harvests of associations, fancies, and dreamy broodings which it begets. From boyhood I have associated classical civic virtues and old heroic integrity with the soil. No one who has peopled his young brain with the fancies of Grecian mythology, but comes to feel a certain magical sanctity for the earth. The very smell of fresh-turned earth brings' up as many dreams and visions of the country as sandal-wood does of oriental scenes. At any rate, I feel, in walking under these trees and about these slopes, something of that enchantment of the vague and mysterious glimpses of the past, which I once felt about the ruins of Kenil worth Castle. For thousands of years this piece of ground hath wrought its tasks. Old slumberous forests used to darken it; innumerable deer have trampled across it; foxes have blinked through its bushes, and wolves have howled and growled as they pattered along its rustling leaves with empty maws. How many birds; how many flocks of pigeons, thousands of years ago; how many hawks dashing wildly among them;

-263-

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Star Papers; Or, Experiences of Art and Nature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface. v
  • Contents 7
  • I- Ruins of Kenilworth. -- Warwick Castle. 9
  • II- A Sabbath at Stratford-On-Avon. 27
  • III- Oxford. 41
  • IV- The Louvre -- Luxembourg Gallery. 56
  • V- The Louvre. 70
  • VI- London National Gallery. 77
  • I- A Discourse of Flowers. 93
  • II- Death in the Country. 106
  • III- Inland Vs. Seashore. 110
  • IV- New England Graveyards. 121
  • V- Towns and Trees. 129
  • VI- The First Breath in the Country. 137
  • VII- Trouting. 144
  • VIII- A Ride. 152
  • IX- The Mountain Stream. 161
  • X- A Country Ride. 172
  • XI- Farewell to the Country. 182
  • XII- School Reminiscence. 189
  • Xiii. The Value of Birds. 194
  • Xiv. A Rough Picture from Life. 197
  • Xv. A Ride to Fort Hamilton. 201
  • Xvi. Sights from My Window. 211
  • Xvii. The Death of Our Almanac. 1853. 218
  • Xviii. Fog in the Harbor. 226
  • Xix. The Morals of Fishing. 231
  • Xx. The Wanderings of a Star. 240
  • Xxi. Book-Stores, Books. 250
  • Xxii. Gone to the Country. 256
  • Xxiii. Dream-Culture. 263
  • Xxiv. A Walk Among Trees. 271
  • Xxv. Building a House. 285
  • Xxvi. Christian Liberty in the Use of the Beautiful. 293
  • Xxvii. Nature a Minister of Happiness. 303
  • Xxviii. Springs and Solitudes. 314
  • Xxix. Mid-October Days. 324
  • Xxx. A Moist Letter. 336
  • Xxxi. Frost in the Window. 344
  • Xxxii. Snow-Storm Traveling. 348
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